Many people may remember fondly while some may choose to forget the famous tech bubble of 2000, when a long list of internet and tech related stocks peaked and then crashed into a bear market..
Many companies like Microsoft, Cisco, Intel, Qualcomm, Apple etc were part of this bubble.. Some of these bubbles burst, while some survived..
Will Blockchain prove to be one such bubble that will last or burst…………………..
Within the shipping and freight industry Blockchain has already been
- successfully used by Banks and Shippers to create Trade Finance documents ;
- creative enough to get a Tech company and the World’s largest container line to invest in it ;
- successfully used by companies to create and transmit smart bills of lading with it ;
Now it seems to be the turn of ports and port authorities to get in on the Blockchain action..
The port of Valencia, has reportedly joined the TradeLens project, the technological solution developed by IBM and Maersk to start applying blockchain technology in the global supply chain..
The port of Valencia is one of the largest in Europe by volume, second in the Mediterranean, and driven by a strong aim to be among the top 3 ports in Europe..
Valencia port has been admitted to the project as an “early adopter”.. This will enable them to be considered as a collaborator on the project from the beginning on any technologies that originate from the program..
Apart from Valencia, TradeLens currently includes more than 20 port operators and terminals around the world including PSA Singapore, ICTSI, Patrick Terminals, Modern Terminals in Hong Kong, Port of Halifax, Port of Rotterdam, Port of Bilbao, PortConnect, PortBase and terminal operators Holt Logistics in the Port of Philadelphia..
These are some of the many high profile early adopters who represent approximately 234 seaports on five continents and are scheduled to be part of the full commercial launch which is due by the end of 2018..
Through the use of this blockchain platform, multiple partners such as shippers, shipping companies, freight forwarders, terminals, carriers and customs can simultaneously access a project in real time..
This also allows a single shared view of a transaction, whilst protecting the privacy and confidentiality of the data with the main aim of improving trade and the pace of trade..
The ports that are part of this project can digitally collaborate between their customers such as importers / exporters, and other governmental agencies such as customs, immigration, NGOs and other statutory bodies enabling them to work together on business processes and exchange document information..
These blockchain documents will be traceable and auditable under a business document beta module called ClearWay..
TradeLens has reportedly already captured and processed over 226 million “data-sending events,” covering container shipping, warehousing time, and customs documentation.. The platform can reportedly cut shipping times by 40 percent..
The Valencia Port Authority had initially announced plans to create a “smart port” based on blockchain and big data technologies in the beginning of October..
Jose Garcia De La Guia, who is responsible for implementing new technologies in the PAV is reported to have suggested that blockchain could improve logistics on a global scale and help create “ports without papers” and reduce the time spent on maintenance..
Some of the known collaborations to integrate blockchain technology into their operations have been from the Port of Rotterdam who teamed up with Netherlands based ABN AMRO and the IT subsidiary of Samsung to test blockchain for shipping..
The members expect that the blockchain trial will help in reducing the time taken for shipping processes and simplify financial transactions..
Recently, it was also reported that UK’s leading port operator, Associated British Ports, signed an agreement with digital logistics enabler Marine Transport International to develop blockchain for its port logistics.. Through this collaboration, the partners expects to reduce time spent on the manual review of scattered data..
But TradeLens is not alone in trying to woo ports to participate in this technology..
This week, nine leading shipping operators joined forces to form a consortium to develop a blockchain based Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN)..
GSBN include ocean carriers CMA CGM, COSCO Shipping Lines, Evergreen Marine, OOCL, and Yang Ming all known opposition to Maersk Line, terminal operators DP World, Hutchison Ports, PSA International and Shanghai International Port, and software company CargoSmart..
This new platform will connect all stakeholders, including carriers, terminal operators, customs agencies, shippers and logistics service providers to digitize their supply chain..
This blockchain initiative which is touted as a response by other global lines to Maersk Line’s Tradelens is led by CargoSmart, who are in the business of providing technology solutions for carriers, terminals, shippers and forwarders..
In its first pilot application, CargoSmart’s platform will allow shippers to digitize and organize their dangerous goods documents allowing them to automatically connect with relevant parties to streamline the approval process.. This application is expected to be available from December 2018..
As per Hutchison Ports director of corporate finance and business development Ivor Chow, “As a founding member of the GSBN consortium, Hutchison Ports recognises the potential of blockchain technology to be the key game changer with far-reaching impact on global supply chains, bringing immense benefits to all aspects of operations and end-to-end visibility throughout the entire supply chain”.
“This collaboration brings together major industry players who strive to develop an open digital platform that will deliver efficiency gains and reduce costs of transactions”
TradeLens’ has a combined market share of 22.8% compared to 30.3% for GSBN.. Singapore port owner PSA is participating in both TradeLens and GSBN plus it has an ownership interest in the Open Trade Blockchain (OTB)..
So who will be next…………………………….?? Shipowners, Charterers, Ships Agencies……….??